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He lost life’s battle: Champion boxer Dingko Singh dies of cancer at the age of 42

Dingko Singh, who ended India’s 16-year wait for an Asian Games boxing victory in the bantamweight division in Bangkok in 1998, passes away after a long battle with liver cancer.

“It is a great loss not only for Manipur but for the country. Dingko reignited the boxing spirit in the country by winning a gold medal for the country in the Asian Games after a gap of 16 years,” said L. Ibomcha Singh, former coach of Dingko Singh.

When Dingko Singh won a gold medal in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games in the 54 kg category, he ended India’s long wait for an Asian Games victory in Boxing. With that win Dingko Singh became a inspiration to the next generation of Indian boxers.

Dingko was born on 1st January 1979 in Sekta, a remote village in Manipur. He faced early adversities and was brought up in an orphanage. Dingko’s hidden talent was identified by Special Area Games Scheme, an initiative of Sports Authority of India (SAI) that is designed to identify and train young talents from the communities in the tribal, rural, hilly and coastal regions of the country.

Trained under Major O.P. Bhatia, 10-year old Dingko Singh won the Sub Junior National Boxing Championship in 1989 at Ambala. From then on wards he was considered as an Upcoming Promising Boxer. Dingko lived up to the expectations and he made a rewarding international debut in 1997 by winning the King’s cup held at Bangkok in Thailand. Simultaneously, he was also declared the best boxer of the meet.

In 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, in the semifinal, Dingko Singh created the first major upset when he defeated the then World No 3 Wong Prages Sontaya of Thailand. In the final he was up against Timur Tulyakov, the then World No 5. During the match, he overpowered his opponent and Timur had to retire after the fourth round of the fight. Dingko Singh won the Boxing gold for India after 16 years wait.

Dingko Singh served the country as a service personnel of the Indian Navy. He was honored with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1998 and later with the Padma Shri Award in 2013.

Dingko was battling ill-health for a number of years. In 2017, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. In 2020, he was tested positive for COVID-19, but had fought through and recovered. However, he could not win his battle against cancer and died at the age of 42.

“I’m deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Dingko Singh. One of the finest boxers India has ever produced, Dinko’s gold medal at 1998 Bangkok Asian Games sparked the Boxing chain reaction in India. I extend my sincere condolences to the bereaved family. RIP Dinko,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted.

 

About Poulomi Kundu

PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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